Why Does My Tea Taste Metallic?

Why Does My Tea Taste Metallic?

For frequent tea drinkers, it’s not uncommon, to have experienced a ‘metallic’ taste in the mouth, right after drinking tea.

“Is the tea polluted?” may be the first question that comes to mind. Luckily, that’s unlikely the case. In this post, we’ll look into the different causes that makes a tea taste metallic.

Stale tea

Metallic flavors are most often caused by stale tea. This doesn’t mean tea isn’t consumable anymore, but the flavor and aroma are simply gone. 

Most often this may happen with green tea. The reason is that green tea still contain water relative other types. When it’s stored too hot or humid, the water content will cause the tea to oxidize faster. As a result, the tea tastes metallic or stale.

Black teas and light oolong teas can also become stale, but those teas are dryer, the flavor is generally preserved longer.

Bad processing

The processing of artisan tea is a matter of patience and hard work. However, for efficiency reasons certain parts of the process may be rushed.

To be clear, bad processing doesn’t necessarily mean machine processing. There’s a clear difference between manual and machine processing, but this isn’t what we’re referring to. 

Also, there are certain things that a machine can do really well, such as rolling tea leaves. This can be done more consistently and efficiently than humans. 

An example of bad processing is for example during the steaming process. This can happen with Japanese green tea or any Chinese tea that requires to be compressed in cakes or bricks. It takes time to steep the leaves soft, before they can be processed in to cakes. However, factories that want to increase efficiency, may take shortcuts by increasing the temperature. The result is a chemical reaction that can burn the leaves, and make them taste metallic.

The same issue can appear when too high temperatures are used when the leaves are pan-fried or roasted.

Not aged enough

Some teas that require aging, may not taste great when they’re young. This could for example be a raw pu erh that requires time to age. It depends on whether a pu erh is processed for aging or for drinking young. Teas that are optimized for aging and long-term storage, doesn’t have to taste great (yet).

If the taste off or too bitter, that’s ok. Store away the tea in a suitable place, and the sweetness and softness will slowly develop over the years.

Personal condition

At last, a metallic taste may have nothing to do with the tea that you’re drinking. It could be caused by personal conditions! We’re not doctors, so we’ll not go into too much detail. Here’s a list of possible reason that can cause a metallic taste:

  • Medication such as antibiotics
  • Dental issues such as a gum disease
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dehydration, dry mouth
  • Lack of zinc
  • Early pregnancy

Conclusion

Why does my tea taste metallic? We hope that the above information, may help you to explain your experiences. A sudden metallic taste in the mouth can have different cases. What’s your experience? Feel free to leave any questions or share your thoughts!

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